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Music Review: Fleetwood Mac – The Dance

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My wife actually listens to The Dance on a regular basis, which is the highest accolade an album can receive, at least in my universe.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham returned to Fleetwood Mac after a several year absence, reuniting in 1997 with Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood to make the group’s famous pop lineup intact once again.

The Dance was a live album released August 19, 1997, and it reached the number one position on the American album charts, selling in excess of five million copies. It ranks as one of the best-selling live albums of all time in America.

Getting a live album just right is sometimes a difficult task but Fleetwood Mac came through with flying colors. They issued a polished and sophisticated piece of work that brought new life to their material.

Buckingham and Nicks may have lost a little off of their high vocal range, but they more than get by. Christine McVie’s vocals, on the other hand, remain as they were a quarter of a century ago.

A five-minute version of “The Chain” gets the album off to a thunderous start and quickly proves there is life in the old group yet.

They are loyal to the style and original recordings of many of their hits. “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” “You Make Loving Fun,” and “Go Your Own Way” are all instantly recognizable and well performed. Stevie Nicks’ lost classic, “Silver Springs,” is one of the album’s better tracks as she presents it with a haunting beauty.

The band created four new songs for the album. Lindsey Buckingham’s “Bleed To Love Her” is a well constructed love song that is mostly acoustic, while “My Little Demon” demonstrates just how good a guitarist he had become. If you want to hear his guitar playing at its best, just check out “I’m So Afraid.”

Stevie Nicks’ contribution, “Sweet Girl,” contains the kind of personal lyrics she had been so successful at creating in the past. “Temporary One” by Christine McVie is her signature type of bouncy pop.

The album ends with “Tusk” and “Don’t Stop,” which include The USC Marching Band. They combine to be a pair of the best closers in live album history.

The Dance was the last hurrah for Christine McVie, as she would leave the group after its release. It is a fitting memorial for the classic Fleetwood Mac pop configuration. It remains one of their essential releases.

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About David Bowling

  • It’s one of my all-time favorites. I remember I got the CD for Christmas when it came out. I listened to it non-stop for days. Even today, I can still go back to it and thoroughly enjoy it.

  • When Fleetwood Mac was in St. Louis last May (09), one of the better aspects of the show was an acoustic version of Landslide like on the album. Unfortunately for much of the show she didn’t seem into it. I had listened to the album a few days earlier which didn’t help because it built up my expectations. I’d have been mad if I’d have paid a premium for the show ’cause I had “The Dance” at home and as you mentioned, the album rocks. Once played the whole album one Sunday night, with very limited commercial breaks on a radio show I had. Management didn’t seem to appreciate my appreciation. Ever thought of reviewing the original “English Rose” ’68 reissue for something a bit different?
    Think I am going to plug that in now…
    J. “Wudman” Wood